The first story I remember ever writing was about killer trees. I think I might have been eight or nine, I don’t know exactly, but I do remember thinking what a great story it was and how I thought it would be so cool to be a writer. True that regarding the latter, maybe not so much on the former.
Of course, I didn’t realize at the time how absolutely unterrifying trees could actually be, even if you put the word “killer” in front of them. Sure, they could fall on people, but that’s as far as the terror went. They had branches, but no prehensile appendages that might grasp a knife or gun. They had no legs with which to chase innocent victims, and although forests can be pretty dark at night, trees have no face with which to show emerging from shadows. Pretty standard stuff to ratchet up the tension. Trees aren’t very helpful except as maybe eerie setting.
I guess at the time, forests were pretty exciting for me — I had one in my backyard that I played in everyday — so it probably wasn’t too much of a stretch of my imagination creating trees that killed. I think, as part of their master plan of world domination, they were distributed to humans through the use of pots. Don’t ask me how, and I don’t remember anything regarding their method of dispatching their victims. I’m thinking something to do with roots. The story floats vaguely in my memory, but the important thing is that I kept at it over the years and that spark of creativity somehow survived several sabbaticals from writing.
Probably most of us have had those, but somehow we find ourselves drawn back into the game. And isn’t that what this whole endeavor is about, keeping that spark alive?
For those out there that find this post, I’d like you to share when that spark first appeared for you. Think of it as sharing the first draft of the rest of your life. What is your memory of that first story? Let’s see how far we’ve all come.
Until Next Time – Don’t Look Down
by W. Darrah Whitaker